Wednesday, October 8, 2014
A Brief Moment of Weightlessness by Victoria Fish
Published June 2014 by Mayapple Press
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours
A Brief Moment of Weightlessness is a collection of short stories that illuminate the beauty and extraordinariness of “ordinary” lives. Each explores the human desire for connectedness and grace. The stories range from large upheavals such as how a marriage shifts when a spouse loses a limb or how a girl reconfigures her world when her father goes to jail, to smaller moments such as when a woman experiences wonder again on a visit to a nursing home with her child and their dog, or when a man finds redemption in the midst of tragedy after being bitten by his dying dog. These illuminating, heartbreaking, poignant, astute stories take on serious issues of death/dying, injury, infidelity, aftermath of war, estrangement and more, but without a sense of gloom that could overwhelm them. They often, though not always, find that glimmer of hope or opportunity, and they are told in a voice that can cut to the quick of a character or conflict, with endings that don’t always resolve neatly. These stories explore, dissect and celebrate those small moments within the larger events that make all of our lives extraordinary.
When Lisa of TLC Book To,urs asked if I would be willing to read and review this collection of short stories, she suggested that if I was short on time I only needed to read and review one story. Honestly, I was fairly certain that was what I was going to do. Well, maybe not just one story but no more than a couple. I wanted to make sure I left plenty of time this month for books that weren't scheduled review books, books I "wanted" to read.
It turned out, though, that this was a book I wanted to read.
I have had mixed feelings about short story collections. On the one hand, they are generally meant to be a collection tied together and I feel like I should read the books straight through. But I've often felt like I'd prefer to read one at a time, perhaps carry a collection in my purse for those times when you need something short to read. These stories, though, wouldn't let me do that.
Fish fills her stories with snapshots of quiets lives, lead by ordinary people dealing with both simple and complex issues. Fish keeps the focus on her characters and how they deal with loss, grief, self-doubt, war's effects, marital struggles. Her writing is quiet but assured, drawing the reader into the lives of people they feel they know. My favorite stories were those of Adam, a war veteran who appears in two stories told from very different points in his life (Green Line and The Last and Kindest Thing); Claire, a woman who discovers that her sweet and boring life isn't so bad after all (What Is The Color Blue); and Emily who struggles to keep it all together while her son battles cancer (Sanctuary Therapy).
check out the full tour. Thanks to Lisa of TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour!
In addition to writing short stories, Victoria Fish is pursuing her Masters of Social Work. Her stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Hunger Mountain, Slow Trains, Wild River Review, and Literary Mama. She lives with her husband and three boys in the hills of Vermont. A Brief Moment of Weightlessness is her first book.